Christian Action CMDW was set up in 1993 to serve one of the under-represented groups – distressed migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Hong Kong. We empower and provide a platform for migrant domestic workers who have suffered abuse, exploitation, or even human trafficking, and help them fight for the justice they deserve.
What Makes Them So Vulnerable?
Oftentimes, MDWs in Hong Kong are not well educated and are only able to communicate in Cantonese or English at the most rudimentary level. Many of the MDWs we serve endure long working hours, no rest days, poor living conditions (including insufficient food), non-payment of wages and benefits, and even physical, mental and sexual abuse.
Their lack of knowledge in human rights and power imbalances with their agencies or employers further expose them to exploitation. Cases of abuse are often unreported to relevant authorities due to language restrictions, a lack of legal awareness, and a common yet unfounded fear of being deported.
The Difference We Make
We cover crisis intervention at our service centres and offer labour and employment advice, paralegal assistance, and professional legal consultation referrals to help MDWs resolve legal disputes with their agencies and employers. In cases of physical and psychological abuse, we give psychological counselling and referrals of professional medical and mental health services.
While their cases are being processed, we provide temporary refuge for MDWs to feel safe. Without a place to stay at, they are unable to remain in the city until their case is resolved.
We organise different activities, such as arts and crafts workshops, language lessons, makeup classes, cooking competitions, and regular excursions to local attractions to keep our shelter sisters engaged.
Additionally, we run various skills-training workshops and recreational classes for Hong Kong’s MDWs to meet new friends and build their support network.
Each year, our Migrant Domestic Workers Programme provides over 4,000 paralegal consultations to Hong Kong’s foreign domestic workers, and our training workshops and shelters benefit around 3,600 attendances.